Projects without people

What a lovely thought. No changes to requirements. Do late delivery. Nobody saying you can’t do that. But could you have projects without people?

Projects are delivered by people, for people and impacting people. So you can’t get away from people impacting your project.

So why do so many project managers ignore the people side of project management?

Dilbert - project people

Dilbert says, the problem with projects is people, full stop. Don’t over complicate it. But actually, he’s missed the real point. It’s  failure to recognise the people factors that causes problems with projects. Recognise the challenge up front, deal with it, and you will be much better placed for success.

It takes all sorts of people with a wide range of skills to delivery any sizeable project. And no two people are the same. Everyone has their own motivators, their own reasons for being there. Even two people struggling with the same task could have =different reactions to it. The very situation is replicated in the project management training simulation tool I use. Fred and Tim are working together on a task and both are struggling. Tim says its hard but he’ll do his best. Fred says it’s hard and he really demotivated. Tim just needs a little encouragement whereas Fred needs much more direct engagement and management.

The example is built in for a reason. Project managers can’t have a one size fits all management style for their team. They have to recognise people react to challenges and situations differently and need different approaches to get the best out of them.

The same is true of the end customer. Each will have their own requirements, their own demands. One size does not fit all, but neither can you keep all of the people happy all of the time. Project management is a balancing act motivating your team, coaxing the best from them, whilst managing an array of requirements and demands trying to achieve a workable compromise that all can signup for.

The Magic Mix cover medium

Successful project managers never ignore the people dimension. They recognise the need to treat all parties as stakeholders and actively manage them. Want to find out more? Grab a free copy of my e-book “The magic ingredient in the project management mix” – it’s all about the people side of project management. Let me know what you think of it.

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